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Nursing Certifications: Are They Worth It?

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Nursing Certifications: Are They Worth It?

Nursing certifications are exams you can take to prove your expertise in a particular specialty; there are hundreds of them to choose from. For many nurses, certifications are something they work hard towards; for others, it is not a priority.  But there is one question that remains between both of them: Are any certifications worth the time and effort? This is a question asked by many, so let’s sort through it.

Nursing Certificates: Are they worth it?

Below are several key questions and areas to consider when pondering if certification is right for you and your career in nursing. 

What different certifications are there? 

There are over a hundred different nursing certifications that are divided by specialty or sub-specialty. 

Some common ones are:

    • CCRN, Acute/Critical Care Nursing
    • CSC, Cardiac Surgery (Adult)
    • CNN, Certified Nephrology Nurse
    • CPAN, Certified Post Anesthesia Nurse
    • CWCN, Certified Wound Care Nurse
    • OCN, Oncology Certified Nurse
    • PCCN, Progressive Care Nursing (Adult)
    • SCRN. Stroke Certified Registered Nurse
    • TCRN, Trauma Certified Registered Nurse
    • CTRN, Certified Transport Registered Nurse

Can Certifications help you get hired? 

The short answer: Yes! According to an article in the Journal of Trauma Nursing, nurses who have a certification can impact the lowering of mortality rates. Therefore, a hospital looking to improve recovery numbers, or a magnet hospital with a reputation to uphold, has every reason to hire a nurse with a certification over one that does not have one. Additionally, many higher positions are now requiring certification exams as nurses in these positions are expected to be “experts” in their specialty. 

Can Certification help you get more money? 

The short answer: Yes! Whether certifications help you increase your pay mostly depends on the hospital; many hospitals have a policy on whether they give raises or bonuses for additional certifications. In general, since they can help you get in higher positions, certifications can help you get more money.

So, are certifications worth it? 

The short answer: Yes! While much of this answer is determined on the hospital, location, and specialty; overall, most signs point to the fact that getting a nursing certification is worth it. There is also the intrinsic value of increasing your knowledge through the process of certification. Certification exams are sure to teach you something while you study, allowing you the opportunity to better yourself, regardless of pay or status. 

Which certifications are right for me?

There is no particular certification that is better than another; that being said, begin your decision making process with some research. Consider, with your current position, are there any financial or career incentives to having a particular certification? And if so, which ones? Additionally, you should consider which certification someone who has your dream job typically has and strive towards that one.

What do you think? Do you have a certification or two? Was it worth it? Let’s chat!

Katelyn Johnson

Katelyn Johnson


Katelyn has a Master’s in Healthcare Administration and five years of clinical experience. She has made the shift to full-time freelance writing and enjoys covering topics on nursing careers, lifestyle, and community. Her goal is to help start a conversation and spread awareness around the many ups and downs of the healthcare field.


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